Monday, February 13, 2017

REVIEW: '24: Legacy' - Carter Works with CTU to Get the Flash Drive from Ben in '2:00 PM - 3:00 PM'

FOX's 24: Legacy - Episode 1.03 "2:00 PM - 3:00 PM"

After Carter escapes from the police precinct, he must put his trust in the CTU as he plans a meet up with Grimes to do the exchange. Rebecca and John try to isolate the leak. Amira and Harris deal with a slight hiccup in their plan.

It is not surprising in the slightest that "2:00 PM - 3:00 PM" ends with the terrorists getting their hands on the flash drive that includes the activation codes for all the sleeper cells. It's what needed to happen in order to keep the plot going. The flash drive was the McGuffin that everyone was fighting over. If Carter and CTU get their hands on it now, they would have all the information necessary to stop the attacks before they occurred. Sure, they would still have to hunt down Bin Khalid's son and his little unit of terrorists before they commit a crime just to inflict some damage. But Carter could go back to his normal life with Nicole. Everything would be able to go back to relative normalcy once the flash drive was at CTU. So, the terrorists getting it is the only way to maintain the threat level. Plus, it's a very 24 move to make. The reveal that the terrorists are at the train station as well is a thrilling final moment. It just would have been more surprising if the audience didn't know it was coming. They are still relatively unknown as characters. They didn't need that scene showing that they were tracking their cell phones. That didn't provide any new depth. It would have been more surprising to just see them show up in the end having magically been able to track everyone down. Yes, that would have been ridiculous and unexplained. But the second episode proved that this series is willing to do the ridiculous just to keep the story as tense and prolonged as possible.

Speaking of which, the hour still starts with Carter trapped in the police precinct with no way out. As predicted, he uses the bomb to blast a hole in the wall. Of course, it isn't an instant fix. It's notable that he has to rely on CTU's help in order to get out of this mess. That's where this episode shines the most. Carter took on the weight of the world alone because he was the only person he could trust. In the first two episodes, he counted on Rebecca and Andy for technical support. He wouldn't have gotten this far without them. And yet, he's been a bit of a wildcard too. He broke into a police precinct. And now, the mood just completely shifts once Keith is let in on the mission and is able to talk things out with the captain of this precinct. It's a complete 180. It goes from Carter largely working alone to him having the full support of CTU. Of course, it wouldn't be surprising at all if there was still a mole in the agency. That's still a predictable twist of the series. But right now, it just makes more sense watching Carter work with a team. He has a personal stake in this mission. He needs to be the one to meet with Ben. It all just makes a little bit more sense in this hour.

However, it really is only a matter of time until that exchange goes wrong. It's what the episode is building to. The show can delay it no longer. Ben established the time frame for Carter to show up with the money. And now, it has to occur before this episode is over. It does. The story actually spends a bit of time with the characters just riding the train together too. Carter mentions that Ben is an anti-surveillance specialist. Of course, that really doesn't track well considering Rebecca and Andy were able to hunt him down in the series premiere fairly easily. But now, it's a detail thrown out just to make CTU's job more difficult. Carter shows up at one station and is taken to another. Of course, Locke is on the train as well. So, there's always a CTU presence. Carter and Ben never spend time alone together. But their interaction shows that Carter still cares about Ben. He doesn't want him to end up dead because of this. He wants him to get the help he needs. Sure, Ben is planning a getaway where he can truly start over. That's a complete fantasy. He doesn't even make it out of the train station before everything goes awry. But it's still important that Ben and Carter have each other's backs. Well, that's true when it comes to life-or-death situations. When Ben thinks Carter betrayed him, he knocks him out. But it's still Carter who ultimately saves Ben before Bin Khalid's son can kill him. Sure, the foot chase is ultimately futile - except for Carter getting hit by a car. But everyone manages to make it out of this encounter alive. The terrorists just now have the information they wanted this entire time which means more peril in the future.

Elsewhere, the show answers who leaked the names of the rangers to this terrorist organization. The show uses that information to give depth to a character. That's one approach to characterization. It would be better to know someone first and then be surprised when they did something that could lead to mass casualties. But this direction works too. In this case, it's John's father, Henry, who leaked the information. And now, he is using Nilaa as a scapegoat. He's planting evidence so that it looks like she's guilty. Of course, his reasoning for why he's doing all of this is still a mystery. It's clear through their interactions that John and Henry have different perspectives of the world. John is an optimist. It's the quality that everyone loves about him. He's surrounded by people who see the world as it really is. And yet, he still sees it full of hope. He believes Nilaa's story about the mosque. Meanwhile, Henry sees it as liability no matter what. And ultimately, he pushes his way into knowing what's going on with Nilaa once Rebecca has her locked in a room. The family connection means Rebecca gives up the information. But it's clear he only does that to build the case against Nilaa. Sure, it's a little ridiculous that one guy is able to check Nilaa's alibi doesn't check out and hack evidence to make her look guilty versus a team at CTU working on the case. But again, CTU has their hands full with Carter at the train station. Their best aren't working on the Nilaa angle even though Henry's hack probably won't be able to sustain itself upon closer inspection.

And finally, the subplot with Amira and Harris is just getting worse and worse. It's easily the most ridiculous thing happening right now. That comes completely out of the twist that Harris didn't kill Drew at all. Sure, he was bleeding a lot and knocked unconscious for a good half hour. But he was still alive. Once he wakes up, he's somehow able to sneak out of a window and across a field before they realize he's gone. Of course, he doesn't get very far and alert people to what Amira and Harris are up. The ambulance coming to take him away will be the thing that splits them up too. That could be good in the future. Right now, Drew was the thing creating tension in this story. Everything was going according to plan for Amira and Harris until Drew started asking questions. Amira is the more dedicated one. She's the one planning all of this with her brother. They are just waiting on the activation codes to arrive. She's ready to go. She just needs to make sure Harris is with her and that Drew won't be a problem. And yet, she needs to be around for Harris to remain committed. So her leaving could provide CTU with its next lead on this case. At least, that's the hope right now. Frankly, it could get a lot worse with this story now actually splitting off into two locations. That would be annoying because these characters are just not interesting to watch at all - even after three episodes. There's just a clear motivation that is missing with them.

Some more thoughts:
  • "2:00 PM - 3:00 PM" was written by Howard Gordon & Leigh Dana Jackson and directed by Jon Cassar.
  • Things are still moving very slowly with Nicole's story. With Carter and CTU's help, she's able to listen to the phone call Aisha made that could get Isaac killed. And yet, she's not able to do anything about it because her phone is then taken away. Again, it's hard to be invested because it's hard to understand anything about Aisha.
  • Travel times continue to be very inconsistent. It took John and Nilaa a long time to get to the campaign event. And now, Rebecca is able to get there from CTU very quickly. Plus, Keith's interrogation of her and Andy has to be factored in there as well. And yet, it takes longer than expected for Isaac to get to his drug deal location.
  • Andy and Mariana were introduced as rival analysts at CTU. But here, their bond is starting to become more friendly as they work together to help Carter with his mission. Andy is even able to teach Mariana a new trick to get a phone call recording.
  • Plus, it's confirmed that Andy and Locke were a couple. That's a fascinating pairing that's also a type of story the franchise hasn't really done before. However, it suffers from Andy being a memorable character so far and Locke being a little too bland and forgettable.
  • Locke gets shot in the big confrontation at the train station a well. And yet, it barely registers because the action quickly cuts to Ben trying to run away, getting captured by Bin Khalid's son, Carter rescuing him, Carter pursuing the terrorists only to be stopped by an incoming train, Eric continuing the pursuit on foot and it all ending with Carter getting hit by a car.